Sunday, August 28, 2011

the south

he lives alone but shares himself with all.

sammy sighed and pushed the duvet to the end of the bed. it would take a second for him to get up. if it were winter he would stay in bed and read. dropping his head as his eyes greeted the morning sky, he felt happy to know he would be in the ocean sun later, and finally swung himself out of the bed. fifteen minutes later he greeted the concierge as he stepped outside his small hotel into the beckoning lazy streets of old antibes. he went to the cafe on the corner for a newspaper, un cafe creme, and a croissant. he read french now like english although when he spoke an occasional phrase revealed his southern u.s. accent.

although he had only planned to come south from paris for a month he had stayed for thirteen months, with no plans to return.

today he would meet a new lady friend for a swim at the rock beach. later he would take her to the musee picasso, where the artist once lived and worked. it was open and light, unlike the one in paris. here, the balance of looking at his work while staring at the mediterranean out of the window cut in stone could never grow old. he saw something new each time.

sammy had met maugerite the night before where they sat and listened to music in a smoky cafe. she had come to the south with her grand-mere and had tired of spending the afternoons alone in her room reading to her granny. she looked better in her swimsuit than sammy had imagined and she smiled brightly when he greeted her. he didn't know much about her except that she was on a break from  teaching at la sorbonne.

they spent the next couple of hours soaking up the faithful sun of the la cote d'azur and casually exchanging a summary of life stories. the only time sammy lost the smile on his inviting lips was when he remembered that these magical days always ended with final goodbyes. they ate paninis and drank cold drinks from a beach vendor and maugerite smiled when sammy ordered in french. she noticed how he didn't pause and cherished the idea of spending time with an ex-pat.

later at the museum the art took hold of her. she reached out and touched sammy's soft hand. ladies hadn't always treated him this way, not until after he started selling his stories and living a life of luxury. most didn't know about the money but all of them were attracted to his confidence and gentle demeanor.

he had come to france three years ago to start writing. without an increased and healthy self-worth he would have never taken such a chance. his family fortune provided the opportunity. most days he would read and write for 7-8 hours and usually worked late into the night.

 maugerite would be here a week longer and he grinned at the thought of seeing her each day. he would share time with her, and a bit with her grandmother. elderly people always thought highly of sammy because he shared a great respect with all of those around him. it pleased his lover that he would take the time to meet someone who was dear to her.

in september when they left, he went back to his quiet hotel life. he would forget maugerite soon and never know that she would think of him always, keeping the story to herself of her brief and passionate affair on the riviera with a funny and charming american.

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